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Fender Jaguar vs Mustang: What’s the difference?


A Fender Jaguar and Fender Mustang on a gradient background



(Describe credit rating: Fender)

While the Stratocaster and Telecaster might perchance perhaps reign supreme by manner of recognition amongst Fender’s line-up of electrical guitars, the Jaguar and Mustang are smooth great cherished by a entire vary of avid gamers. Launched in 1962 and 1964 respectively, they both provide a shorter scale than most other Fender guitars, and a vary of assorted tones; but what items these two guitars apart? And ought to you’ve been brooding about selecting one up, which is the right mannequin for you?

Every guitars are effectively known for being lined in all kinds of switches and knobs. While this has tiny doubt confused and perchance even place some avid gamers off, it’s also an mountainous segment of what makes them sound so recurring, and has helped bring some traditional tones over the closing 60 years.

Right here, we’re going to pit these offset guitars against one but every other to overview and incompatibility issues treasure tone, invent, playability and more. Care for with all of Fender’s other items, there have been plenty of versions of both guitars over time. Even recently there are many alternatives to have interaction from. To make issues more uncomplicated and fairer, for this feature we will have the selection to be having a scrutinize at vintage spec’d versions of both guitars, treasure the ones viewed in Fender’s Vintera and Vintera II ranges.

Fender Mustang vs Jaguar: At a scrutinize

Two Fender Jaguar guitars lying on hard case

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Doubtlessly essentially the most noticeable difference between the Jaguar and the Mustang first and significant scrutinize is the physique form, with the latter being a tiny bit more compact. They’ve bought varied kinds of pickups too – they’re both single coils, but you’ll query that the Jag’s has miniature steel claws around them, as we’ll glimpse at later, and produces rather a varied sound.

They both have varied controls and circuits too, which as soon as more contributes in opposition to the a lot of tones that these guitars are in a position to producing. The hardware, seriously the trem systems differ too, which supplies them a varied no doubt feel from one one other but also has rather an affect on how they glimpse. They enact both part a 24” scale length despite the truth that, which is shorter than Fender’s exceptional 25.5”, so that you just might perchance query a same no doubt feel in your fretting hand. The specs underneath are in step with the Vintera II 70s items.

Fender Vintera II 70s Jaguar

  • Physique: Alder
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fingerboard: Maple
  • Frets: 22, Vintage Tremendous
  • Pickups: Vintage-Sort ’70s Single-Coil Jaguar
  • Neck Profile: Slack ’70s “C”
  • Select from Fender

Fender Vintera II 70s Mustang

  • Physique: Alder
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Frets: 22, Vintage Tremendous
  • Pickups: Vintage-Sort ’70s Single-Coil Mustang
  • Neck Profile: Early ’70s “C”
  • Select from Fender

Fender Jaguar vs Mustang: Switching systems

Close up of a Fender Mustang switching system

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Every guitars make essentially the most of single coil pickups, alternatively they’ve both positively bought their very own tonal characteristics and have very varied switching systems. At the start, let’s plow by what your entire switches enact.

On a Jaguar, you’ve bought three switches positioned shut to the lower horn. Having a scrutinize on the guitar face-on, the right hand switch turns the neck pickup on/off, the middle is on/off for the bridge pickup and the left-hand switch is a ‘strangle’ switch that cuts out about a of the lower frequencies all over all pickups. Shut to the input, you’ve bought grasp quantity and grasp tone knobs. 

Then on the tip, you’ve bought a single switch and two roller knobs. When the switch is up, you’re on the lead circuit (which is what the grasp knobs and three switches maintain watch over) – when it’s down, you’re on the Jag’s rhythm circuit. Right here, simplest the neck pickup is engaged and, because it’s going by a varied circuit, it sounds varied – great darker and mellower. The 2 roller knobs are then tone and quantity controls for this.

Close up of a Fender Jaguar switching system

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The Mustang has a more uncomplicated switching system. Every pickup has a three-manner switch above it. When the switch is within the middle, that pickup is off. When it’s either to the left or the right, then that pickup is on. Now, it’s a three-manner switch for a reason – if the switches on both pickups are within the an identical discipline then they’re both on and in segment. If the switches are in reverse instructions (i.e. one is switched to the left, and the replace to the right), then they’re both on, but they are out of segment. After all, this provides you four varied tones. The 2 knobs shut to the input are grasp quantity and tone controls.

Verdict: Draw 

Complicated to have interaction a winner right here. They both enact varied issues and relief the guitar that they’re on effectively. You would doubtlessly enact a little bit of more with the Jag – moral for folks that treasure alternatives; less so for folks that desire a more uncomplicated system! 

Fender Jaguar vs Mustang: Tone

Close up of a Fender Jaguar pickup selector

(Describe credit rating: Future)

The assorted pickups fitted in both the Fender Jaguar and Fender Mustang imply that they sound varied. A Jag will in most cases be brighter sounding and have a hotter output, which manner that you just might perchance push a tube amp to overdrive naturally more with out recount. It’s also bought rather about a that Fender jangle that folk focus on about – it’s sure, outlined and shining. The steel claws all around the pickups relieve make stronger the tip extinguish frequencies and likewise slash hum a little bit of.

You’ve then bought the strangle switch, which takes out some bottom extinguish, and even some mid frequencies – this sound won’t work for all the pieces, but it no doubt’s good to have. The rhythm circuit is mountainous for jazz, or anything else that requires a terrific darker tone. Pairing this with an excellent fuzz pedal can yield some no doubt frigid sounds too. 

Close up of a Fender Mustang control plate

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Mustangs on the replace hand sound a tiny bit warmer, nearly woody sounding, and thinner. You would even gain a tiny bit twang out of it – nearly treasure a Tele. You’ve then bought the honky out of segment sounds imaginable with the three-manner switches. These aren’t vital on your on a traditional foundation form of tones, but they’re useful ought to you desire to have a vary of assorted sounds at your disposal. There’s also a a little bit of percussive ingredient to the assault of a Mustang – issues treasure how the amp or pedals you’re the utilization of compress will attain this, but in quite a lot of the pickup positions, there’s something frigid there.

Every guitars can sound mountainous ravishing and distorted. It’s value noting despite the truth that that quite a lot of the grunge avid gamers of the ‘90s that popular these guitars did regulate them to feature humbuckers as but every other of single coils.

Verdict: Draw 

Which one is the winner will no doubt depend on your interior most model. Every have their advantages, and both can produce a mountainous vary of sounds. For me personally, the Jag edges it – it’s a tiny bit fuller sounding, clearer and I treasure the brighter, hotter output.  

Fender Jaguar vs Mustang: Form & hardware

Close up of the tremolo system on a Fender Mustang

(Describe credit rating: Future)

A mountainous difference within the invent of these two guitars is the physique form – the Mustang is noticeably smaller. For parents that treasure a more compact instrument – seriously smaller avid gamers, and even younger folks, then it goes to be a plus. It being smaller also manner it weighs a tiny bit less on realistic (the Jaguar also has an extra steel plate for the rhythm circuit which adds more weight), so ought to you’re trying to acquire a light guitar, then the Mustang might perchance perhaps spend you over there. 

The switches on the Jaguar are a tiny bit more out of the style. Again, this can coast either manner – some might perchance perhaps treasure that as there’s less trouble of knocking them while playing, whereas others might perchance perhaps wish them nearer at hand. On the Mustang, the switches are right by the pickups, but within the warmth of the 2nd, playing are living, they’re not the top to alter fast.

A Fender Johnny Marr Jaguar leaning against a white wall

(Describe credit rating: Future)

The bridge vibrato systems are varied too. The Mustang has a floating tremolo unit – simply discipline the arm within the tip-mounted gap and likewise you’re consuming to transfer. The arm then moves the bar which the strings are strung by so you gain an excellent and unexcited motion which is de facto easy to manage. Because you’re more in contact with the strings, that you just might perchance gain quicker movements in pitch.

The Jaguar in most cases has a longer arm, which adjustments the feel of it seriously. The arm also pops trusty into a miniature gap on the bridge plate which moves a part underneath, which is linked to the strings. The motion is a tiny bit slower and more slack than on the Mustang.

Winner: Jaguar 

Again, it’s a shut one, and for heaps of avid gamers the Mustang will spend. The Mustang does have a lighter and smaller physique which is ready to tiny doubt be a design to a pair. Nonetheless, the slower, more slack motion of the vibrato system on the Jaguar is a winner, as is the more life like (for me…) structure.  

Fender Jaguar vs Mustang: Playability

Close up of a Fender Jaguar headstock

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Every guitars have a shorter 24” scale length, so there isn’t great of a difference by manner of what your fretting fingers no doubt feel. The neck profile will play a mountainous segment in playability, but as soon as more, that can depend on the direct mannequin you select for. Some avid gamers might perchance perhaps well wish varied experiences, but I have a tendency to search out that a Jaguar trem holds its tuning better after exhaust than a Mustang.

Every guitars are cheerful to play sat down as both bodies have a lower within the waist to discipline on your knee. Standing up, both are ravishing, despite the truth that as soon as more – it’s value remembering that in most cases, Mustangs are lighter, if weight is an scenario. 

Winner: Draw 

They’re right same, and most differences in playability will come down to the direct model you have interaction. Whilst the Jag vibrato system holds its tuning effectively, the Mustang is lighter.  

Fender Jaguar vs Mustang: Verdict

Three Fender Mustang guitars leaning against a wall

(Describe credit rating: Future)

The Fender Jaguar and Mustang are both mountainous guitars, and they both provide tones that that you just might perchance’t gain with the leisure. The Jaguar positively has an excellent shining jangle to the sound, alongside with readability and fullness, whereas the Mustang is a tiny bit warmer but also thinner sounding. These honky out of segment sounds are also no doubt fascinating. 

The switching systems on both guitars are exclusively recurring, and whenever you know what all the pieces does, are no doubt no doubt intuitive and simple to make exhaust of. Which one is less complex to navigate and exhaust in a are living scenario will depend on your playing style, but they’re both very varied to a easy three-manner pickup selector. 

Whilst you’re seeking a light and more compact guitar, the Mustang is your fair trusty friend right here, but it no doubt’s laborious to push aside how mountainous the offset Jag appears to be like! Every are no doubt frigid guitars despite the truth that and they latest an excellent replace for avid gamers seeking something varied to the standard Strat and Tele items.

A Fender Johnny Marr Jaguar

Fender Johnny Marr Jaguar

Doubtlessly the best Jag we’ve ever had our hands on, this Fender Johnny Marr Jaguar signature mannequin with extended switching capabilities and hefty neck profile is the cream of the nick in phrases of the expressive instrument that is the Jag. 

A Fender Vintera II 70s Jaguar

Fender Vintera II 70s Jaguar

As well to having a scrutinize amazing, the Fender Vintera II 70s Jaguar capabilities all of those traditional Jag tones with an extremely playable neck. The Maple on shadowy with chrome plating will not be any doubt an exceptional glimpse, but we’re suckers for it it. 

A Squier Classic Vibe 70s Jaguar

Squier Traditional Vibe Jaguar

Whilst you desire to have Jag guitar sounds on a funds, the Squier Traditional Vibe Jaguar packs that chimney, jangly guitar tone in a bundle that won’t cost you the earth. It’s not rather pretty great as good as the more dear items obviously, but it no doubt’s a splendid toughen platform. 

A Fender American Performer Mustang

Fender American Performer Mustang

With its zesty pickup tones, stable tremolo, and simple playability the Fender American Performer Mustang is all the pieces a mountainous Mustang must be. Mild-weight and effectively-balanced, this energetic guitar delivers an fascinating and order sound. 

A Fender Player Mustang

The Fender Player Mustang provides you a inspiring high extinguish that goes mountainous with grunge fuzz tones and a crunchy tube amp. The inability of tremolo manner that the tuning balance is rock solid, and the cheerful scale makes it eminently playable. 

A Squier Classic Vibe 60s Mustang

Squier Traditional Vibe 60s Mustang

For mountainous value grunge tones, it’s laborious to glimpse previous the Squier Traditional Vibe 60s Mustang. The skinny, cheerful neck profile makes it a mountainous option for newbie avid gamers getting started on electrical, and it’s a appealing toughen platform.

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After spending a decade in song retail, I’m now a contract author for Guitar World, MusicRadar, Guitar Player and Reverb, specialising in electrical and acoustic guitars, bass, and nearly the leisure that you just might perchance make a tune with. When my head’s not buried within the last be conscious of contemporary and vintage gear, I bustle a miniature company helping musicians with songwriting, production and performance, and I play bass in an alt-rock band.

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